Carolina Panthers Out of Luck, will Stick with Jimmy Clausen

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst IJanuary 6, 2011

Stanford QB, Andrew Luck
Stanford QB, Andrew LuckMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

According to ESPN, Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck has opted out of playing in the NFL for at least one more season, choosing to remain at Stanford to work on his degree and further his education.

Some will consider it a risky move, and for all intents and purposes, it is a risky move if he is considering a potential career in the NFL. However, it's also a smart decision as the NFL will only be a career he will endure for a short amount of time, compared to what he is setting himself up for beyond his career in the league.

Another question to ponder is how might Luck's decision to return to Stanford sway head coach Jim Harbaugh? Might Stanford be willing to pay Harbaugh the contract he desires, to keep coach and quarterback together in the hope of making a run for a national championship in 2011-2012? It would seem to most, myself included, that keeping the tandem of Luck and Harbaugh together would play a key role in the chance of playing for a national title in the BCS National Championship game.

In the meantime, questions will proliferate about what the Carolina Panthers will do with their first pick—No.1 overall—in the 2011 NFL Draft. A smart move might now be to consider trading down into the first-round, if the team is also able to acquire a second-round pick in addition to a lower first-round pick. However without any Luck, those chances seem almost impossible.